“Big and Nice” – the Vang Vieng Caves

Cycling from Luang Prabang to Vientiane: part four

Saturday 16th January

Miles: 25 (to and from the caves)

Vang Vieng is most famous for its tubing, which was scaled back a few years ago when quite a few people drowned. From what we could see now, there were lots more people taking kayaks up river rather than rubber rings. 

Being indifferent to drinking and also not organised enough to sort out kayaking or hot air ballooning, we had decided to spend the day seeing some of the nearby caves.

We cycled to Kieo cave first, getting off and walking once the road got too rough. 

At the entrance was a man. We paid him 20,000 kip and he gave us a couple of head torches. In we went. 


If this cave had been set out with a walkway and lights, we would have come out and said: “That was quite interesting.” But alone, with head torches, navigating slippery rocks, we came out thinking: “That was COOL.” 

Glittery rocks, interesting formations and a long, winding passage that went on and on. And here’s some rubbish cave photos… 


I don’t think I would have done it alone because I’m a terrible wuss who watched The Descent at a formative age (16… it’s sort of formative). 

Speaking of scary things, look what Eric found. A cave spider as big as yer’ ‘and. 


After cave number one we went on to cave number two: Pha Thao Cave, which we were promised would be “Big and Nice”.

In between caves.


20,000 kip was handed over and head torches were donned. 

It was big. And nice. 


Eric discovered that if you hit some of the stalactites they make a note!


Fools gold on the ceilings glittered in the semi-dark. 


Another cave spider. Yikes!


After lunch we sat by the river and dipped our feet in the water. 


Until some kids turned up who liked the look of our bike. 


Eric led them around while they pedalled. 

This photo was taken a second before the boy on the front staggered off the bike clutching his groin. I think he got a bit too close to the top bar! 

I learnt their names (Don, Soy… something, something and something) and when I told them my name they pronounced it like all Thai/Laos people do: “Pen NEE”. Cute. 


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